[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 176 (Monday, September 13, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 55541-55552]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-22645]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[Docket No. 100820388-0388-01]
RIN 0648-ZC20


NOAA Regional Ocean Partnership Funding Program--FY2011 Funding 
Competition

AGENCY: National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The purpose of this document is to advise eligible state, 
local, territory and tribal governments, regional ocean partnerships, 
institutions of higher learning, and non-profit and for-profit 
organizations (requirements described in full announcement) that NOAA 
is soliciting proposals for competitive funding for Regional Ocean 
Partnerships that include or emphasize regional Coastal and Marine 
Spatial Planning (CMSP) efforts. This competition is focused on 
advancing effective coastal and ocean management through regional ocean 
governance and the goals for national ocean policy set out in the July 
2010 Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, 
which includes a national CMSP Framework. The Regional Ocean 
Partnership Funding Program (ROPFP) will support two categories of 
activities:
    (1) Implementation of activities that contribute to achieving the 
priorities identified by Regional Ocean Partnerships (ROPs) while also 
advancing CMSP as envisioned in the national CMSP Framework; and
    (2) ROP Development and Governance Support for administration and 
operations of existing ROPs, and for start-up costs of those regions 
beginning ROPs.
    Eligible entities must submit to NOAA full proposals on or before 
December 10, 2010, in order to participate in this Fiscal Year (FY) 
2011 funding opportunity. Total anticipated funding is approximately 
$20,000,000 and is subject to the availability of FY 2011 
appropriations. Additional funds of approximately $10,000,000 from NOAA 
or other Federal agencies may be used for FY 2011 or multi-year awards 
from this competition. The start date on proposals should be the first 
day of July, August or September, but no later than October 1, of 2011. 
Statutory authority for this program is provided under Coastal Zone 
Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1456c (Technical Assistance).

DATES: Full proposals must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. ET, 
December 10, 2010. For proposals submitted through Grants.gov, a date 
and time receipt indication by Grants.gov will be the basis of 
determining timeliness. Hard copy applications will be date and time-
stamped when they are received. Full proposals received after the 
submission deadline will not be reviewed or considered. Anticipated 
Announcement of Award: June 1, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Full proposal application packages, including any letters of 
support, should be submitted through the apply function on Grants.gov. 
If an applicant does not have Internet access, one set of originals 
(signed) and two copies of the proposals and related forms should be 
mailed to the attention of James Lewis Free, NOAA Coastal Services 
Center, 2234 South Hobson Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 29405-
2413. No e-mail or fax copies will be accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For administrative questions, contact 
James Lewis Free, NOAA CSC; 2234 South Hobson Avenue, Room B-119; 
Charleston, South Carolina 29405-2413, phone 843-740-1185, fax 843-740-
1224, e-mail James.L.Free@noaa.gov. For technical questions regarding 
this announcement, contact Rebecca Smyth, phone 510-251-8324, e-mail 
Rebecca.Smyth@noaa.gov. To obtain a copy of the Final Recommendations 
of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, please refer to http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/OPTF_FinalRecs.pdf.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Announcement of Funding Opportunity also 
available at http://www.csc.noaa.gov/funding/.
    Federal Agency Name(s): Coastal Services Center, National Ocean 
Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 
Department of Commerce.
    Funding Opportunity Title: NOAA Regional Ocean Partnership Funding 
Program--FY 2011 Funding Competition.
    Announcement Type: Initial Announcement.
    Funding Opportunity Number: NOAA-NOS-CSC-2011-2002718.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 11.473, Coastal 
Services Center.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

A. Program Objectives

    This Regional Ocean Partnership Funding Program (ROPFP) is focused 
on

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advancing effective coastal and ocean management through regional ocean 
governance, including the goals for national ocean policy and coastal 
and marine spatial planning set out in the July 2010 Final 
Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/OPTF_FinalRecs.pdf. In the 
justification for a national CMSP Framework, the Ocean Policy Task 
Force (OPTF) underscores the need for planning and governance with the 
following assessment:

    The Nation's interests in the ocean, our coasts, and the Great 
Lakes support a growing number of significant and often competing 
uses and activities, including commercial, recreational, cultural, 
energy, scientific, conservation, and homeland and national security 
activities. Combined, these activities profoundly influence and 
benefit coastal, regional, and national economies and cultures. 
However, human uses of our ocean, coasts, and the Great Lakes are 
expanding at a rate that challenges our ability to plan and manage 
them under the current sector-by-sector approach. While many 
existing permitting processes include aspects of cross-sectoral 
planning (through, for example, the process governed by the National 
Environmental Policy Act), most focus solely on a limited range of 
management tools and outcomes (e.g., oil and gas leases, fishery 
management plans, and marine protected areas). Missing from this 
picture is a more integrated, comprehensive, ecosystem-based, 
flexible, and proactive approach to planning and managing these uses 
and activities. This new approach would be national in scope to 
address national interests, but also scalable and specific to 
regional and local needs. Without such an improved approach, we risk 
an increase in user conflicts, continued planning and regulatory 
inefficiencies with their associated costs and delays, and the 
potential loss of critical economic, ecosystem, social, and cultural 
services for present and future generations.

    The OPTF, the Pew Oceans Commission, the U.S. Commission on Ocean 
Policy and the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative have all called for 
stronger regional ocean governance mechanisms to improve our 
understanding of ocean and coastal ecosystems, and to address 
fragmented planning and management of societal uses of coastal and 
ocean lands and waters. The value in this approach is reflected in the 
rapid engagement by most coastal states in new Regional Ocean 
Partnerships (ROP). These partnerships have been established to 
facilitate the effective management of ocean and coastal resources 
across jurisdictional boundaries by improving communications, aligning 
priorities, and enhancing resource-sharing between local, State, tribal 
and Federal agencies.
    Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) is an important planning 
tool for regional ocean governance. CMSP is a comprehensive, adaptive, 
integrated, ecosystem-based, and transparent spatial planning process, 
based on sound science, for analyzing current and anticipated uses of 
ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas. Intended to look across multiple 
sectors and jurisdictions in an objective and collaborative regional 
fashion, CMSP identifies areas most suitable for various types or 
classes of activities in order to reduce conflicts among uses, reduce 
environmental impacts, facilitate compatible uses, and preserve 
critical ecosystem services to meet societal objectives, including 
economic, environmental and security considerations. In practical 
terms, CMSP provides a public policy process for society to better 
determine how the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes are sustainably used 
and protected for future generations. As noted in the OPTF's Final 
Recommendations, potential opportunities and incentives for regions 
undertaking CMSP include:
    (1) Encouraging and informing the Federal government to better 
manage resources or address processes that transcend jurisdictional 
boundaries;
    (2) Defining local and regional objectives and developing and 
implementing CMSP in a way that is meaningful to regionally specific 
concerns;
    (3) Leveraging, strengthening, and magnifying local planning 
objectives through integration with regional and national planning 
efforts;
    (4) Proactively addressing concerns over proposed activities 
impacting State and tribal interests and minimizing use conflicts 
before they escalate;
    (5) Leveraging support from the Federal government to build CMSP 
capacity, access CMSP data; and acquire scientific, technical, and 
financial assistance;
    (6) Accessing data through CMSP Portal(s) and utilizing science 
tools developed, established, and maintained for CMSP efforts;
    (7) Benefiting from sustained Federal participation on the regional 
planning bodies that consist of representatives empowered to make 
decisions and commitments on behalf of their respective agencies, in 
turn helping to integrate and improve decision-making;
    (8) Providing a clearer and easier point of access for all Federal 
agencies with regard to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes issues; and
    (9) Achieving regulatory efficiencies, reduction in administrative 
delays, and cost savings.
    The OPTF's CMSP Framework generally identifies large marine 
ecosystems (LME) as the basis for defining CMSP regions. LMEs are 
defined on the basis of consistent ecological conditions and other 
factors. For CMSP purposes, the United States is subdivided into nine 
regional planning areas based on LMEs with modifications as necessary 
to ensure inclusion of the entire U.S. EEZ and Continental Shelf, and 
to allow for incorporation of existing state or regional ocean 
governance bodies. For the most part, the boundaries of regional 
governance structures for the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, 
Gulf Coast, West Coast, and Great Lakes lie within LME boundaries. The 
OPTF also designates Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Islands, and 
the U.S. Caribbean as regions, resulting in a total of nine regions. 
For purposes of this funding opportunity, NOAA will generally use the 
OPTF-defined regions for consideration in ROPFP funding proposals. 
Where possible, NOAA has identified an existing lead ROP or planning 
body for each region (see Section III.C.). Regional Ocean Partnerships 
are defined as below:
    Regional Ocean Partnerships are voluntary, usually multi-state, 
Governor-established forums that develop shared priorities and take 
critical action on a broad diversity of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes 
needs, as relevant to their region. They have different structures and 
employ varied methods and approaches to enhance the ecological and 
economic health of the region. Their efforts involve non-governmental 
stakeholders and all of the multiple state and Federal agencies 
involved in coastal and ocean management.
    For the purposes of this announcement, all applicants must 
coordinate their proposals for a region with the identified lead ROP or 
planning body of that region. The goal of this coordination is to 
ensure awareness, enhance collaboration, and contribute to achieving 
the best outcomes for regional ocean governance and healthy, resilient 
and sustainable oceans, coasts and Great Lakes resources.
    The ROPFP is intended to support development or implementation of 
regional ocean governance priorities that also advance the objectives 
detailed in the OPTF's national CMSP Framework. Regional priorities may 
be identified in existing ROP plans (e.g., Gulf of Mexico Alliance, 
Northeast Regional Ocean Council, Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the 
Ocean, the South Atlantic Alliance, the Great Lakes

[[Page 55543]]

Council of Governors and the West Coast Governors' Agreement on Ocean 
Health), or emerge through developing ROP efforts. The ROPFP is also 
intended to support regional ocean governance efforts with funds for 
administration and operations of existing ROPs, and for development 
costs of those regions beginning ROPs (including Alaska, Hawaii and the 
U.S. Pacific Islands, and the U.S. Caribbean).
    The ROPFP program will support two categories of activities:
    (1) Focus Area 1--Implementation of activities that meet both 
regional ocean governance priorities identified by ROPs in action plans 
and other public documents and the purposes and priorities of the 
national CMSP Framework; and
    (2) Focus Area 2 (up to approximately $3M)--Development and 
governance support for administration and operations of existing and 
new ROPs, including development of plans and management of ROP 
activities.
    This funding opportunity supports the Department of Commerce's 
objectives to ``Support coastal communities that are environmentally 
and economically sustainable,'' and ``Support climate adaptation and 
mitigation.'' It also directly contributes to the NOAA strategic goal 
for Resilient Coasts and Economies, and the objectives therein, 
including ``Comprehensive Ocean and Coastal Planning and Management'' 
and ``Resilient Coastal Communities That Can Adapt to Impacts of 
Hazards and Climate Change.''

B. Program Priorities

Focus Area 1
    Focus Area 1 funds are intended to support a spectrum of regional 
ocean governance priorities including those that address national goals 
for CMSP. CMSP is an important planning tool for supporting a number of 
regional ocean governance efforts; therefore Focus Area 1 proposals 
that also advance comprehensive CMSP, either through regional planning 
processes or through building capacity by addressing relevant CMSP 
principles will be given highest priority in the final evaluation. The 
OPTF's CMSP Framework identifies twelve Guiding Principles:
    (1) CMSP would use an ecosystem-based management approach that 
addresses cumulative effects to ensure the protection, integrity, 
maintenance, resilience, and restoration of ocean, coastal, and Great 
Lakes ecosystems, while promoting multiple sustainable uses.
    (2) Multiple existing uses (e.g., commercial fishing, recreational 
fishing and boating, marine transportation, sand and gravel mining, and 
oil and gas operations) and emerging uses (e.g., off-shore renewable 
energy and aquaculture) would be managed in a manner that reduces 
conflict, enhances compatibility among uses and with sustained 
ecosystem functions and services, provides for public access, and 
increases certainty and predictability for economic investments.
    (3) CMSP development and implementation would ensure frequent and 
transparent broad-based, inclusive engagement of partners, the public, 
and stakeholders, including with those most impacted (or potentially 
impacted) by the planning process and with underserved communities.
    (4) CMSP would take into account and build upon the existing marine 
spatial planning efforts at the regional, State, tribal, and local 
level.
    (5) CMS Plans and the standards and methods used to evaluate 
alternatives, tradeoffs, cumulative effects, and sustainable uses in 
the planning process would be based on clearly stated objectives.
    (6) Development, implementation, and evaluation of CMS Plans would 
be informed by sound science and the best available information, 
including the natural and social sciences, and relevant local and 
traditional knowledge.
    (7) CMSP would be guided by the precautionary approach as defined 
in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration, which states that, ``Where 
there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full 
scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-
effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.''
    (8) CMSP would be adaptive and flexible to accommodate changing 
environmental conditions and impacts, including those associated with 
global climate change, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification; and new 
and emerging uses, advances in science and technology, and policy 
changes.
    (9) CMSP objectives and progress toward those objectives would be 
evaluated in a regular and systematic manner, with public input, and 
adapted to ensure that the desired environmental, economic, and 
societal outcomes are achieved.
    (10) The development of CMS Plans would be coordinated and 
compatible with homeland and national security interests, energy needs, 
foreign policy interests, emergency response and preparedness plans and 
frameworks, and other national strategies, including the flexibility to 
meet current and future needs.
    (11) CMS Plans would be implemented in accordance with customary 
international law, including as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea 
Convention, and with treaties and other international agreements to 
which the United States is a party.
    (12) CMS Plans would be implemented in accordance with applicable 
Federal and State laws, regulations, and Executive Orders.
    In addition, proposals that also address the national Areas of 
Special Emphasis as identified in the OPTF July 2010 final report will 
receive some priority in the evaluation. The Areas of Special Emphasis 
are:
    (1) Resiliency and Adaptation to Climate Change and Ocean 
Acidification: Strengthen resiliency of coastal communities and marine 
and Great Lakes environments and their abilities to adapt to climate 
change impacts and ocean acidification.
    (2) Regional Ecosystem Protection and Restoration: Establish and 
implement an integrated ecosystem protection and restoration strategy 
that is science-based and aligns conservation and restoration goals at 
the Federal, State, tribal, local, and regional levels.
    (3) Water Quality and Sustainable Practices on Land: Enhance water 
quality in the ocean, along our coasts, and in the Great Lakes by 
promoting and implementing sustainable practices on land.
    And where applicable:
    (4) Changing Conditions in the Arctic: Address environmental 
stewardship needs in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent coastal areas in the 
face of climate-induced and other environmental changes, and
    (5) Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Observations, Mapping and 
Infrastructure: Strengthen and integrate Federal and non-Federal ocean 
observing systems, sensors, data collection platforms, data management, 
and mapping capabilities into a national system and integrate that 
system into international observation efforts.
    Therefore, proposals for ROPFP funds might articulate (but are not 
limited to) how a region would move forward on planning consistent with 
the OPTF's CMSP Framework; or implement key priority actions of the 
existing ROPs that would apply CMSP Guiding Principles to an Area of 
Special Emphasis; or provide tools and information identified as an ROP 
priority that are also critical for regional CMSP. Some examples of how 
an applicant might propose to advance an ROP's capacity to conduct 
comprehensive regional CMSP across

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multiple sectors and jurisdictions include:
    (1) The synthesis of relevant spatial data on ecosystem structure, 
function, services and human uses on a regional scale;
    (2) The development or application of decision-support tools to 
help planners and stakeholders assess the implications of alternative 
ocean use scenarios throughout the region; or
    (3) The identification of regional goals and objectives for 
appropriate uses of ocean and coastal areas.
    In addition, the creation of new and innovative partnerships and 
broader stakeholder engagement beyond the existing governmental 
relationships of the ROPs will be needed for successful planning and 
implementation of CMSP. This element needs to be included in projects 
that will be considered for CMSP efforts.
    The CMSP process consists of a series of steps that would 
eventually lead to the development of a comprehensive, multi-sectoral, 
and multi-objective CMS Plan. Although the CMSP process envisions 
optimum flexibility among and within regions, the following essential 
elements--and how the partners plan to accomplish them--would need to 
occur in all regions in order to ensure a level of national 
consistency. The process would be adaptive and refined as regions gain 
experience with CMSP. In determining whether ROP proposals are using a 
CMSP approach, applicants should indicate how they are addressing the 
CMSP Guiding Principles as well as how the proposed approach aligns 
with the Essential Elements of the CMSP process (also noted in the 
OPTF's CMSP Framework):
    (1) Identify Regional Objectives.
    (2) Identify Existing Efforts that Should Help Shape the Plan 
Throughout the Process.
    (3) Engage Stakeholders and the Public at Key Points throughout 
Process.
    (4) Consult Scientists and Technical and Other Experts.
    (5) Analyze Data, Uses, Services, and Impacts.
    (6) Develop and Evaluate Alternative Future Spatial Management 
Scenarios and Tradeoffs.
    (7) Prepare and Release for Public Comment a Draft CMS Plan With 
Supporting Environmental Impact Analysis Documentation.
    (8) Create a Final CMS Plan and Submit for National Ocean Council 
(NOC) Review.
    (9) Implement, Monitor, Evaluate, and Modify (as needed) the NOC-
Certified CMS Plan.
    Development and implementation of CMS Plans would be an iterative 
process leading to a comprehensive, multi-objective, multi-sectoral 
plan within the first five years. Since each region may have different 
drivers and capabilities for CMSP, regions may choose to prioritize 
initial development and implementation steps. While CMSP should help 
resolve many use conflicts, it is not realistic to expect that all such 
conflicts would be resolved. Further, partners might agree not to 
resolve certain issues in a CMS Plan at a particular time, but rather 
to acknowledge these issues and indicate how the parties would continue 
to work on them as part of the iterative CMSP process. Such issues may 
be resolved as data gaps are filled, new information is developed, or 
as State or Federal legal authorities are enacted, changed, or updated.
    For example, offshore energy is an ROP priority that could also 
address CMSP Guiding Principles. ROPs will need to develop a solid 
spatial framework and socioeconomic measures to understand the trade-
offs and make sound decisions on siting offshore energy facilities--the 
planning approach, decision support tools and information used in 
planning for offshore energy siting are also needed for developing an 
effective regional CMSP. Data collection and data synthesis can also 
illustrate the intersection between CMSP and many ROP priorities. For 
example, the collection of seafloor mapping data and relevant products 
from that data could support siting decisions about waterborne 
commerce, recreational use of the area, or protection of key resources. 
These data, fundamental to our understanding of our ocean resources and 
where activities can occur, are also fundamental to comprehensive CMSP 
tools.
    Focus Area 1 proposals that effectively articulate the connection 
between the proposed project, CMSP Guiding Principles and Essential 
Elements and the Areas of Special Emphasis, and the priorities publicly 
identified by the relevant ROP will receive the highest rankings based 
upon NOAA's criteria (see Section V.A.).
Focus Area 2
    The intent of Focus Area 2, ROP Development and Governance Support, 
is to help support administration and operations for existing ROPs, and 
support development for regions that are initiating ROP activities.
    Proposals might seek funding for any aspects of these elements in 
support of ROP development and impact. Some examples include: Funding 
for ROP staff support to coordinate and facilitate stakeholder 
engagement; holding stakeholder engagement meetings; identifying, 
developing and/or managing implementation of priority activities in the 
region; establishing a non-profit organization under 26 U.S.C. 
501(c)(3) or other fiduciary entity to represent the ROP or entering 
into a partnership with an existing non-profit organization established 
under section 501(c)(3) to act as fiduciary; developing annual reports 
and other outreach materials to demonstrate the importance of broad 
support for regional ocean governance. ROP participation should be 
voluntary, emphasize collaborative management, and involve all states 
in the region.

C. Program Authority

    Statutory authority for this program is provided under Coastal Zone 
Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1456c (Technical Assistance).

II. Award Information

A. Funding Availability

    Total anticipated funding for all ROPFP awards is approximately 
$20,000,000 and is subject to the availability of FY 2011 
appropriations. Additional funds of approximately $10,000,000 from NOAA 
or other Federal agencies may be used for FY 2011 or multi-year awards 
from this competition. Multiple awards are anticipated from this 
announcement. The anticipated Federal funding per Focus Area 1 award 
(min-max) is approximately $1,000,000 to $3,500,000. The anticipated 
Federal funding per Focus Area 2 award (min-max) is approximately 
$100,000 to $500,000.
    The anticipated number of awards ranges from twelve (12) to thirty 
(30), and will be adjusted based on available funding. Applicants must 
be aware that funds have not yet been appropriated for this program. If 
additional funding is made available in FY 2011 through Congress for 
ROPFP, NOAA may select additional FY 2011 proposals for funding rather 
than open a new competition, or augment FY 2011 awards that were only 
partially funded.
    There is no limit on the number of proposals from each region. 
Applicants may bundle multiple projects into one proposal, or may 
submit single projects; however, NOAA will evaluate all projects for 
readiness and feasibility for completion within the required 2 year 
time frame. Applicants must note the requirement detailed in Section 
III.C. for demonstration of coordination with the relevant ROP on 
projects.

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    There is no guarantee that funds will be available to make awards 
for this Federal funding opportunity or that any proposal will be 
selected for funding. If an applicant incurs any costs prior to 
receiving an award agreement signed by an authorized NOAA official, 
they do so at their own risk of these costs not being included in a 
subsequent award. In no event will NOAA or the Department of Commerce 
be responsible for any proposal preparation costs. In addition, NOAA 
and DOC will not be responsible for proposal or project costs if this 
program fails to receive funding. Recipients and sub-recipients are 
subject to all Federal laws and agency policies, regulations, and 
procedures applicable to Federal financial assistance awards. 
Applicants must be in good standing with all existing NOAA grants and/
or cooperative funding agreements in order to receive funds.

B. Project/Award Period

    Focus Area 1 is for multiple year awards with project periods up to 
24 months. Multiple year awards receive all funding in the first year, 
but the performance period can be two years. Competitive announcements 
for this purpose may be published in future years, and if so, 
applicants may resubmit proposals or submit new proposals for funding 
in future years.
    Focus Area 2 is for multi-year awards. Multi-year awards are 
partially funded when the awards are approved, but may receive 
subsequent increments of funding. Proposed projects may request funding 
for one to three years and once awarded, those awards will not compete 
for funding in subsequent years.
    Proposals in Focus Area 1 or 2 not funded in the current fiscal 
period may be considered for funding in another fiscal period without 
NOAA repeating the competitive process outlined in this announcement.

C. Type of Funding Instrument

    Applications should be written as cooperative agreements and the 
proposal should clearly identify this funding instrument in the 
proposal abstract and cover sheet. Applicants should clearly articulate 
the Federal roles and responsibilities in implementing the proposal. 
Examples of Federal involvement include Federal co-leadership of the 
ROPs, Federal leadership on priority task teams, and staff support to 
working groups and leadership teams.

III. Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

    All state, local, territory and tribal governments, institutions of 
higher learning, non-profit and for-profit organizations that may 
receive and expend Federal funds as legal entities are eligible to 
apply. As defined at 15 CFR 24.3, local government means a county, 
municipality, city, town, township, local public authority (including 
any public and Indian housing agency under the United States Housing 
Act of 1937), school district, special district, intrastate district, 
council of governments (whether or not incorporated as a non-profit 
corporation under State law), any other regional or interstate 
government entity, or any agency or instrumentality of a local 
government.
    Please note the requirement detailed in Section III.C. for 
demonstration of coordination with the relevant ROP on projects and 
funding amounts proposed.
    Federal agencies and employees are not allowed to receive funds 
under this announcement but may serve as collaborative project 
partners. If Federal agencies are collaborators, applicants should 
provide detail on the level of Federal engagement in the application. 
Examples might include, but are not limited to, providing additional 
funding, in-kind services, or serving in a review capacity.
    The lead applicant on any proposal will be responsible for ensuring 
that allocated funds are used for the purposes of, and in a manner 
consistent with, this program, including any funds awarded to an 
eligible sub-awardee.

B. Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement

    There is no requirement for cost sharing.

C. Other Criteria That Affect Eligibility

    In order to be eligible to compete, a project or applicant must 
meet one or more of the
    following criteria, as applicable to the proposed project and Focus 
Area:
    (1) Represent or directly partner with a member of an existing 
regional ocean governance partnership;
    (2) Possess the authority, proven capacity, and regional 
relationships to effectively coordinate the development of a regional 
ocean governance priorities that engages affected coastal states and 
territories and their management agencies, including the approved 
coastal zone management program;
    (3) Demonstrate formal commitments with existing regional ocean 
governance partnerships and coastal states or territories (including 
the approved coastal zone management program) to adopt the plan(s), 
product(s) or outcome(s) of a proposed project into regional or state 
ocean management planning processes or coastal and ocean resource 
management policies.
    Where applicable, each proposal must directly involve or include a 
letter of support or endorsement from the lead ROP for each region 
(identified below) for the purposes of this funding opportunity. The 
letter should confirm that the proposed project has been evaluated for 
its contributions to regional ROG priorities, and specifically indicate 
concurrence with recommended approach and proposal funding amounts.
    The existing lead ROPs identified for each region for the purposes 
of the ROPFP are:
    (1) Northeast Regional Ocean Council.
    (2) Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean.
    (3) South Atlantic Governors' Alliance.
    (4) Gulf of Mexico Alliance.
    (5) West Coast Governors' Agreement on Ocean Health.
    (6) Council of Great Lakes Governors.
    During FY 2011, applicants for Alaska, Hawaii, Pacific Island 
Commonwealths and Territories, and the Caribbean will be allowed to 
compete for Focus Area 1 funds by demonstrating that they are working 
towards a regional ocean partnership in their respective regional 
planning areas as identified above. This can be accomplished by 
providing letters of support for each proposal from their respective 
Office of the Governor and lead State and Federal agencies as well as 
tribes involved in coastal and ocean management. Part of this 
application must outline steps towards creating a ROP. Applicants from 
these regions where no ROP currently exists are strongly encouraged to 
also submit proposals for Focus Area 2 funds in order to develop ROP 
capacity for regional ocean governance and CMSP objectives. These 
regions will be eligible for Focus Area 1 funding in FY 2012 and beyond 
once they establish the partnerships needed for comprehensive ocean 
governance.
    Allowable uses for funds:
    Direct and indirect costs for administering the ROPFP award are 
allowable and must be incurred within the award period. Note that 
administrative costs may be included, but the total amount allocated 
for costs of this nature should be minimized to the greatest extent 
possible. Direct and indirect costs may include time spent by staff for 
project planning,

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implementation, and review. If an application includes indirect costs, 
the amount must be based on the indirect cost rate negotiated and 
approved by the applicant's cognizant Federal agency. The total amount 
allocated for indirect costs may not exceed the value of 20 percent of 
the Federal share, e.g., a proposal requesting $250,000 in Federal 
funds may include a maximum of $50,000 for indirect costs in the 
budget. Applicants requesting indirect costs will be required to submit 
a copy of their indirect cost rate agreement.

IV. Application and Submission Information

A. Address To Request Application Package

    Application packages for full proposals are available through the 
apply function on Grants.gov. If an applicant does not have Internet 
access, application packages can be requested from James Lewis Free at 
2234 South Hobson Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 29405-2413; 843-
740-1185; or James.L.Free@noaa.gov.
    B. Content and Form of Application Submission
    (1) Focus Area 1 Proposals:
    Full proposal applications must be 15 pages or less (single-spaced, 
11 or 12-point font and exclusive of appendices). The 15-page limit 
does not include the proposal title page, a table of contents (if 
included), the project summary (referenced below), and any appendices. 
Appendices should be limited to materials that directly support the 
main body of the proposal (e.g., detailed budget information, support 
letters, resumes, references, lists of data sources, maps, and/or 
required Federal forms as noted above in Section IV.B.1). Applicants 
should number the pages in the proposal and any appendices. Appendices 
may be paginated as stand-alone documents (individually) or as part of 
the larger document. Proposals failing to comply with the format 
prescribed in this section will be deemed incomplete and will not be 
considered for further review.
Required Elements
    All funding application packages must contain the following 
components:
    (1) Title Page (Proposal Cover Sheet). Include proposal title, 
complete contact information for the Principal Investigator and 
Financial Representative, duration of proposed project, funding type 
(cooperative agreement), and amount of funding request.
    (2) Project Summary. Provide a one to two-page summary of the 
proposed project. The summary should be written for easy understanding 
by a broad audience and contain the following sections:

    i. Project Name/Title.
    ii. Primary Contact (name, address, phone, fax, e-mail).
    iii. Recipient Organization or Institution (If the project is 
intended to be administered under an existing NOAA Cooperative 
Institute, please state which Institute will administer the award).
    iv. Other Investigators (name, affiliated organization, 
institution or agency).
    v. Brief Project Summary (whether for Focus Area 1 or Focus Area 
2, or both) including objectives, ties to ROP priorities and 
applicable CMSP approaches, and intended benefits.
    vi. Partners.
    vii. Proposed funding for each year of the project. If the 
proposal includes funding to NOAA to provide technical assistance on 
the project, make sure to note the amounts by year and line office 
that is the intended recipient of the funds.

    (3) Project Description. All project descriptions (proposals) must 
include the following sections:
    i. Goal and Objective(s). Describe in the narrative the specific 
project goals and objectives to be achieved. In particular, note the 
connection to regional ocean governance, including ROP priorities and, 
where applicable, how CMSP can be applied to address those priorities, 
and expected outcomes. Recipients will be required to submit semi-
annual reports describing progress toward these goals and objectives. 
Provide a description of measures of success that will be used to 
evaluate progress and success in achieving the goals and objectives of 
the project.
    ii. Background. Provide sufficient background information for NOAA 
and non-NOAA reviewers to independently assess the significance of the 
proposed project for advancing regional coastal and ocean planning and 
management priorities. Summarize the problem to be addressed, 
identified needs and the status of ongoing efforts to address them. 
Summarize the relationship of the proposed work to other ongoing or 
planned regional ocean governance efforts.
    iii. Partnerships: Provide information on the range of partners, 
including local, State, tribal, and Federal government as well as non-
governmental organizations, academia, and industry. Include the roles 
and support each key partner is providing and how the ROP will include 
and grow partnerships as appropriate to achieve the goals of both the 
ROP and as appropriate, CMSP.
    iv. Audience. Identify specific users of the results of the 
project, describe how they will use the results, and identify any 
training that will be needed for users to make full use of the results.
    v. Approach. Provide a work plan that: identifies specific tasks to 
be accomplished; explains the technical approach (including quality 
assurance) needed to accomplish the tasks; identifies the roles of 
partners and cooperators; and identifies potential obstacles to 
successful completion of the goals and objectives. Describe how users 
are involved in the planning and design process. The work plan must 
clearly address data management requirements, and the steps to be taken 
to achieve efficient and effective data access and archiving that is 
compliant with Federal regulations. Identify methods that will be used 
to ensure that the project will be coordinated to achieve active and 
meaningful participation by all partners and appropriate stakeholders 
in the region. Clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of the 
Federal partners.
    vi. Benefits. Identify, with a high degree of specificity, the uses 
of the information derived from the work, and the benefits that will be 
achieved from those uses, or by particular users of the information, as 
well as society as a whole. Document how valid user requirements are 
guiding the proposed work. Describe how the information from the 
project will be delivered to those users, and any special 
considerations or requirements for ensuring or improving the delivery 
of information.
    vii. Milestone Schedule. Display time lines for major tasks, target 
milestones for important intermediate and final products, and key 
project outcomes.
    viii. Project Budget. Provide a budget description that follows the 
categories and formats in the NOAA grants package (Standard Form 424-A) 
and a brief narrative justification of the budget. Detailed budget 
information, such as a repeat of the information in Form SF-424A along 
with more details should be included in an appendix. In this appendix, 
the budget narrative also shall clearly identify the cost of separable 
elements of the proposed work and shall identify the elements of the 
project that the cooperator would recommend for revision or elimination 
if sufficient funding is not available for all proposed activities. 
Applicants must itemize and describe the intended use of equipment 
costing $5,000 or greater that will be purchased under the award. 
Applicants must complete a lease versus purchase analysis for any 
equipment $5,000 or greater. For proposals to carry out basic or 
applied scientific research, non-profit institutions of higher 
education or non-profit organizations

[[Page 55547]]

whose primary purpose is conducting scientific research should 
identify, if possible, who will be requested to retain ownership of any 
equipment purchased through grant funds after the project ends. The 
budget narrative must also provide, to the extent possible, detailed 
information on travel, including costs, a description of anticipated 
travel, destinations, the number of travelers, and a justification of 
how the requested travel is directly relevant to the successful 
completion of the project. If actual trip details are unknown, 
applicants must state the basis for the proposed travel charges. 
Applicants should allocate travel funds for any coordination meetings 
at regional or national levels. Foreign travel must receive prior 
approval, and therefore, should be included in the proposal to avoid 
having to request prior approval after the project starts. Applicants 
may factor in travel costs for participation in a NOAA Grants 
Management Division workshop for recipients, as well as for meeting 
with NOAA staff and/or key project personnel.
    (4) Appendices
    i. Mandatory Detailed Budget Information, including budgets of 
subawards and contracts. Information should include the name of the 
entity receiving funds, the location of the entity receiving the funds 
(for example, city, state, and Congressional district), and the 
location of the primary place of performance under the contract/
subaward.
    ii. Resumes. Provide resumes of the Principal Investigator for the 
project and other key personnel critical to the success of the project. 
Ensure that resumes address qualifications relevant to conducting the 
proposed work. Please limit resumes to a maximum of two pages for each 
key investigator.
    iii. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)--Under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), NOAA must analyze the potential 
environmental impacts of projects or proposals seeking funding from 
NOAA. Detailed information on NOAA compliance with NEPA can be found at 
the following NOAA NEPA Web site: http://www.nepa.noaa.gov/including 
our NOAA Administrative Order 216-6 for NEPA, http://www.nepa.noaa.gov/NAO216_6_TOC.pdf and the Council on Environmental Quality 
implementation regulations, http://ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/regs/ceq/toc_ceq.htm.
    Consequently, as part of an applicant's package, and under their 
description of their program activities, applicants are required to 
provide detailed information on the activities to be conducted, 
locations, sites, species and habitat to be affected, possible 
construction activities, and any environmental concerns that may exist 
(for example, the use and disposal of hazardous or toxic chemicals, 
introduction of non-indigenous species, impacts to endangered and 
threatened species, aquaculture projects, and impacts to coral reef 
systems).
    After the application is submitted, NOAA may require additional 
information to fulfill NEPA requirements. If NOAA determines that an 
environmental assessment is required, applicants may also be requested 
to assist in drafting the assessment. Applicants may also be required 
to cooperate with NOAA in identifying and implementing feasible 
measures to reduce or avoid any identified adverse environmental 
impacts of their proposal. The failure to do so shall be grounds for 
the denial of an application. In some cases if additional information 
is required after an application is selected, funds can be withheld by 
the Grants Officer under a special award condition requiring the 
recipient to submit additional environmental compliance information 
sufficient to enable NOAA to make an assessment on any impacts that a 
project may have on the environment.
    Applicants are required to answer the questions indicated in this 
Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. Applicants should answer 
the NEPA questions to the best of their ability with as much detail as 
possible. If the applicant does not answer all the questions indicated 
in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity the application may 
be considered incomplete.
    Some of the questions may overlap with material provided in other 
parts of the application. This overlap occurs because the answers to 
the questionnaire are provided to NOAA staff members who do not review 
the other parts of the application. If appropriate, the applicant may 
copy the information from other parts of the application and paste it 
into the answers to the questionnaire. Many questions have a ``yes'' or 
``no'' response. If the response is ``no'' the applicant does not need 
to elaborate on their answer. If the response is ``yes'' the question 
will have a second part asking the applicant to provide more 
information.
    Applicant NEPA questions are as follows:

    Question C1. Is the proposed activity going to be conducted in 
partnership with NOAA or would the proposed activity require NOAA's 
direct involvement, activity, or oversight? If yes, describe NOAA's 
involvement, activity, or oversight, including the name of the 
office or program that is involved.
    Question C2. Would the proposed activity involve any other 
Federal agency(ies) partnership, direct involvement, activity, or 
oversight? If yes, provide the name(s) of the agency(ies) and 
describe its involvement, activity, or oversight.
    Question D1. Provide a brief description of the location of the 
proposed activity.
    Question E1. List any Federal, State, or local permits, 
authorizations, or waivers that would be required to complete the 
proposed activity. Provide the date the permit, authorization, or 
waiver was obtained or will be obtained. Provide copies of the 
permit, authorization, or waiver as appropriate. Was a NEPA analysis 
prepared for the permit, authorization, or waiver? If yes, state the 
title of the NEPA analysis and provide copies of the NEPA analysis.
    Question F1. Is there the potential for the proposed activity to 
cause changes that would be different from normal ambient conditions 
(for example, temperature, light, turbidity, noise, other human 
activity levels, etc.)? If yes, describe the changes and the 
circumstances that would cause these changes.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    This documents contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The use of Standard Forms 
424, 424A, 424B, and SF-LLL have been approved by OMB under the 
respective control numbers 0348-0043, 0348-0044, 0348-0040, and 0348-
0046. The application requirements specific to the NOAA Regional Ocean 
Partnership Funding Program have been approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget under Control Number 0648-0538. Public reporting 
burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 3 
hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, 
searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data 
needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. 
Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other suggestions 
for reducing this burden to Ms. Cristi Reid, NOAA Office of Program 
Planning and Integration, SSMC 3, Room 15700, 1315 East West Highway, 
Silver Spring, MD 20910. The information collection does not request 
any proprietary or confidential information. No confidentiality is 
provided.
    Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subjected to a penalty 
for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, unless that collection of 
information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.
    (2) Focus Area 2 Proposals

[[Page 55548]]

    Full proposal applications must be 5 pages or less (single-spaced, 
11 or 12-point font and exclusive of appendices). The 5-page limit does 
not include the proposal title page, a table of contents (if one is 
included), the project summary referenced below and any appendices. 
Appendices should be limited to budget, resumes and support letters. 
Applicants should number the pages of the proposal and any appendices. 
Appendices may be paginated as stand-alone documents (individually) or 
as part of the larger document. Proposals failing to comply with the 
format prescribed in this section will be deemed incomplete and will 
not be considered for further review.

Required Elements

    All funding application packages must contain the following 
components:
    (a) Title Page (Proposal Cover Sheet). Include proposal title, 
complete contact information for the Principal Investigator and 
Financial Representative, duration of proposed project, funding type 
(cooperative agreement), and amount of funding request.
    (b) Project Summary. Provide a one-page summary of the proposed 
project.
    The summary should be prepared to be readable to a broad audience 
and
    contain the following sections:

    i. Project Name/Title.
    ii. Primary Contact (name, address, phone, fax, e-mail).
    iii. Recipient Organization or Institution.
    iv. Other Investigators (name, affiliated organization, 
institution or agency).
    v. Brief Project Summary including objectives, ties to ROP 
Development and Governance, and intended benefits.
    vi. Partners.
    vii. Proposed funding for each year of the project. If the 
proposal includes funding to NOAA to provide technical assistance on 
the project, make sure to note the amounts by year and line office 
that is the intended recipient of the funds.
    viii. If the project is intended to be administered under an 
existing NOAA Cooperative Institute, state which Institute will 
administer the award.
    (a) Project Description. All project descriptions (proposals) 
must include the following sections:

    i. Goal and Objective(s). Describe in the narrative the specific 
project goals and objectives to be achieved. In particular note the 
connection to ROP Development and Governance. Objectives should be 
specific for each year of the work plan presented. Recipients will be 
required to submit semi-annual progress reports in which progress 
against these goals and objectives will be reported.
    ii. Background. Provide sufficient background information for NOAA 
and non-NOAA reviewers to independently assess the significance of the 
proposed project. Summarize the problem to be addressed and the status 
of ongoing efforts to address the identified needs. Summarize the 
relationship of the proposed work to other ongoing or planned regional 
ocean governance efforts.
    iii. Partnerships: Provide information on how the project will 
build the partnerships, especially cross governmental on all state, 
tribal and Federal agencies with interest in coastal and ocean 
management as well as partnership building with industry, 
nongovernmental organizations, and academia.
    iv. Audience. Identify specific users of the results of the 
project, describe how they will use the results, and identify any 
training that will be needed for users to make full use of the results.
    v. Approach. Provide a work plan that: identifies specific tasks to 
be accomplished; explains the technical approach (including quality 
assurance) needed to accomplish the tasks; identifies the roles of 
partners and cooperators; and identifies potential obstacles to 
successful completion of the goals and objectives. Describe how users 
are involved in the planning and design process. The work plan must 
clearly address data management requirements, and the steps to be taken 
to achieve efficient and effective data access and archiving that is 
compliant with Federal regulations. Clearly identify the roles and 
responsibilities of the Federal.
    vi. Benefits. Identify, with a high degree of specificity, the uses 
of the information derived from the work, and the benefits that will be 
achieved from those uses, or by particular users of the information, as 
well as society as a whole. Document how valid user requirements are 
guiding the proposed work. Describe how the information from the 
project will be delivered to those users, and any special 
considerations or requirements for ensuring or improving the delivery 
of information.
    vii. Milestone Schedule. Display time lines for major tasks, target 
milestones for important intermediate and final products, and key 
project outcomes.
    viii. Project Budget. Provide a budget description that follows the 
categories and formats in the NOAA grants package (Standard Form 424-A) 
and a brief narrative justification of the budget.
    ix. Detailed budget information, such as a repeat of the 
information in Form SF-424A along with more details should be included 
in an appendix. In this appendix, the budget narrative also shall 
clearly identify the cost of separable elements of the proposed work 
and shall identify the elements of the project that the cooperator 
would recommend for revision or elimination if sufficient funding is 
not available for all proposed activities.
    x. Applicants must itemize and describe the intended use of 
equipment costing $5,000 or greater that will be purchased under the 
award. Applicants must complete a lease versus purchase analysis for 
any equipment $5,000 or greater. For proposals to carry out basic or 
applied scientific research, non-profit institutions of higher 
education or non-profit organizations whose primary purpose is 
conducting scientific research should identify, if possible, who will 
be requested to retain ownership of any equipment purchased through 
grant funds after the project ends. The decision on grant ownership 
requests will be made by the Grants Officer before or during the grant 
close out process.
    xi. The budget narrative must also provide, to the extent possible, 
detailed information on travel, including costs, a description of 
anticipated travel, destinations, the number of travelers, and a 
justification of how the requested travel is directly relevant to the 
successful completion of the project. If actual trip details are 
unknown, applicants must state the basis for the proposed travel 
charges. Applicants should allocate travel funds for any coordination 
meetings at regional or national levels. Foreign travel must receive 
prior approval, and therefore, should be included in the proposal to 
avoid having to request prior approval after the project starts. 
Applicants may factor in travel costs for participation in annual NOAA 
Grants Management Division workshops for recipients, as well as for 
meeting with NOAA staff and/or key project personnel.
    (3) Appendices
    (a) Mandatory Detailed Budget Information, including budgets of 
subawards and contracts. Information should include the name of the 
entity receiving funds, the location of the entity receiving the funds 
(for example, city, State, and Congressional district), the location of 
the entity receiving funds (city, State, and Congressional district), 
and the location of the primary place of performance under the 
contract/subaward.
    (b) Resumes. Provide resumes of the Principal Investigator for the 
project and other key personnel critical to the success of the project. 
Ensure that

[[Page 55549]]

resumes address qualifications relevant to conducting the proposed 
work. Please limit resumes to a maximum of two pages for each key 
investigator.
    (c) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)--Under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), NOAA must analyze the potential 
environmental impacts of projects or proposals seeking funding from 
NOAA. Detailed information on NOAA compliance with NEPA can be found at 
the following NOAA NEPA Web site: http://www.nepa.noaa.gov/including 
our NOAA Administrative Order 216-6 for NEPA, http://www.nepa.noaa.gov/
NAO216__6__TOC.pdf and the Council on Environmental Quality 
implementation regulations, http://ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/regs/ceq/toc_ceq.htm.
    Consequently, as part of an applicant's package, and under their 
description of their program activities, applicants are required to 
provide detailed information on the activities to be conducted, 
locations, sites, species and habitat to be affected, possible 
construction activities, and any environmental concerns that may exist 
(for example, the use and disposal of hazardous or toxic chemicals, 
introduction of non-indigenous species, impacts to endangered and 
threatened species, aquaculture projects, and impacts to coral reef 
systems).
    After the application is submitted, NOAA may require additional 
information to fulfill NEPA requirements. If NOAA determines that an 
environmental assessment is required, applicants may also be requested 
to assist in drafting the assessment. Applicants may also be required 
to cooperate with NOAA in identifying and implementing feasible 
measures to reduce or avoid any identified adverse environmental 
impacts of their proposal. The failure to do so shall be grounds for 
the denial of an application. In some cases if additional information 
is required after an application is selected, funds can be withheld by 
the Grants Officer under a special award condition requiring the 
recipient to submit additional environmental compliance information 
sufficient to enable NOAA to make an assessment on any impacts that a 
project may have on the environment.
    Applicants are required to answer the questions indicated in this 
Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. Applicants should answer 
the NEPA questions to the best of their ability with as much detail as 
possible. If the applicant does not answer all the questions indicated 
in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity the application may 
be considered incomplete.
    Some of the questions may overlap with material provided in other 
parts of the application. This overlap occurs because the answers to 
the questionnaire are provided to NOAA staff members who do not review 
the other parts of the application. If appropriate, the applicant may 
copy the information from other parts of the application and paste it 
into the answers to the questionnaire. Many questions have a ``yes'' or 
``no'' response. If the response is ``no'' the applicant does not need 
to elaborate on their answer. If the response is ``yes'' the question 
will have a second part asking the applicant to provide more 
information.
    Applicant NEPA questions are as follows:

    Question C1. Is the proposed activity going to be conducted in 
partnership with NOAA or would the proposed activity require NOAA's 
direct involvement, activity, or oversight? If yes, describe NOAA's 
involvement, activity, or oversight, including the name of the 
office or program that is involved.
    Question C2. Would the proposed activity involve any other 
Federal agency(ies) partnership, direct involvement, activity, or 
oversight? If yes, provide the name(s) of the agency(ies) and 
describe its involvement, activity, or oversight.
    Question D1. Provide a brief description of the location of the 
proposed activity.
    Question E1. List any Federal, state, or local permits, 
authorizations, or waivers that would be required to complete the 
proposed activity. Provide the date the permit, authorization, or 
waiver was obtained or will be obtained. Provide copies of the 
permit, authorization, or waiver as appropriate. Was a NEPA analysis 
prepared for the permit, authorization, or waiver? If yes, state the 
title of the NEPA analysis and provide copies of the NEPA analysis.
    Question F1. Is there the potential for the proposed activity to 
cause changes that would be different from normal ambient conditions 
(for example, temperature, light, turbidity, noise, other human 
activity levels, etc.)? If yes, describe the changes and the 
circumstances that would cause these changes.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    This documents contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The use of Standard Forms 
424, 424A, 424B, and SF-LLL have been approved by OMB under the 
respective control numbers 0348-0043, 0348-0044, 0348-0040, and 0348-
0046. The application requirements specific to the NOAA Regional Ocean 
Partnership Funding Program have been approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget under Control Number 0648-0538. Public reporting 
burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 3 
hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, 
searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data 
needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. 
Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other suggestions 
for reducing this burden to Ms. Cristi Reid, NOAA Office of Program 
Planning and Integration, SSMC 3, Room 15700, 1315 East West Highway, 
Silver Spring, MD 20910. The information collection does not request 
any proprietary or confidential information. No confidentiality is 
provided.
    Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subjected to a penalty 
for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, unless that collection of 
information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.

C. Intergovernmental Review

    Applications under this program are subject to Executive Order 
12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs'' for states that 
participate in this process. It is the state agency's responsibility to 
contact their state's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to find out about 
and comply with the state's process under EO 12372. A list of the 
participating states and the clearinghouse points of contact can be 
found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc.

D. Funding Restrictions

    None.

E. Other Submission Requirements

    (1) Letter of Endorsement--As detailed in Section III.C., where 
applicable, each proposal must include a letter of support or 
endorsement from the lead ROP identified for each region for the 
purposes of this funding opportunity.
    (2) Full proposal application packages, including any letters of 
support, should be submitted through the apply function on Grants.gov. 
The standard NOAA funding application package is available at 
www.grants.gov. Please be advised that potential funding applicants 
must register with Grants.gov before any application materials can be 
submitted. An organization's one time registration process may take up 
to three weeks to complete so please allow sufficient time to ensure 
applications are submitted before the closing date. The Grants.gov site 
contains directions for submitting an application, the

[[Page 55550]]

application package (forms), and is also where the completed 
application is submitted.
    (3) If an applicant does not have Internet access, one set of 
originals (signed) and two copies of the proposals and related forms 
should be mailed to the attention of James Lewis Free, NOAA Coastal 
Services Center, 2234 South Hobson Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 
29405-2413. No e-mail or fax copies will be accepted. Full proposal 
application packages, including any letters of support, should be 
submitted together in one package.

V. Application Review Information

A. Evaluation Criteria

    (1) Importance and/or relevance and applicability of proposed 
project to the program goals (50 percent): This ascertains whether 
there is intrinsic value in the proposed work and/or relevance to NOAA, 
Federal, regional, State, or local activities.
    For Focus Area 1, questions related to this criterion include:
    (a) Does the proposal identify clear goals and objectives that are 
consistent with ROP priorities and, as appropriate, the CMSP Framework 
(available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/OPTF_FinalRecs.pdf)? For applicants from regions without an established ROP 
(e.g., Alaska and Hawaii), does the proposal demonstrate that they are 
working towards a regional ocean partnership?
    (b) To what extent does the proposal address CMSP Guiding 
Principles?
    (c) Does the proposal address an Area of Special Emphasis?
    (d) Does the proposal identify outcomes that are focused and 
realistic given the time frame and scope of the project?
    (e) Will the proposal advance ROP priorities and regional CMSP 
efforts? For applicants from regions without an established ROP, does 
the proposal advance regional CMSP efforts as well as show how the 
region will work towards establishing a ROP?
    (f) If applicable, does the proposal clearly identify ROP goals for 
CMSP development? Are they achievable?
    (g) Does the proposal identify primary partners, expand existing 
partnerships, and key stakeholders and describe how they will 
participate in project activities, including CMSP activities where 
applicable?
    (h) Does the proposal reflect strong support from project partners?
    (i) Does the proposal demonstrate either direct involvement or a 
letter of support from the lead ROP in the region? For applicants from 
regions without an established ROP, is the proposal supported by the 
relevant governors and lead State and Federal agencies and tribes 
involved in coastal and ocean management?
    (j) Will the proposal result in benefits that are region-wide or 
transferable to other ROP and CMSP priorities and regions?
    For Focus Area 2, questions include:
    (a) Does the proposal contribute to the establishment or 
implementation of a long term regional ocean partnership?
    (b) Does the proposal identify an effective development process 
that will result in a consensus for regional priorities, specific 
action steps to address those priorities, and tangible outcomes that 
will be accomplished?
    (c) Establishing a regional ocean partnership may come with 
challenges/barriers (i.e., entities in a region may be accustomed to 
traditions of competing for economic development, research funding, and 
other financial or social benefits). To what extent does the proposal 
identify such challenges/barriers and explain how such barriers will be 
overcome?
    (d) Does the proposal adequately identify methods in which 
development activities will be coordinated to achieve active and 
meaningful participation by all partners, including various levels of 
governments, and appropriate stakeholders in the region?
    (e) Does the proposal include methods to achieve lasting 
coordination for regional ocean governance and for the implementation 
of a regional ocean partnership?
    (f) Does the partnership include participation by a large cross 
section of state, Federal and tribal governments and participation by 
other relevant interest groups?
    (2) Technical and scientific merit (25 percent): This assesses 
whether the approach is technically sound and/or innovative, if the 
methods are appropriate, and whether there are clear project goals and 
objectives.
    Questions relevant to this criterion include:
    (a) Is the approach appropriate for the stated goals and 
objectives?
    (b) Are the project goals and objectives achievable within the 
proposed time-frame?
    (c) Does the proposed approach incorporate current guidance, 
scientific, and/or technical advancements in the design and 
implementation of the proposed work?
    (d) If geospatial data are to be acquired, does the proposal 
promote interoperability with other components of regional and national 
geospatial systems? Has a thorough search been conducted to ensure that 
data do not already exist that can meet the intended purpose of the 
proposed acquisition? Will the data be collected to national and/or 
international standards and specifications that promote multi-purpose 
uses in the future per Federal Geospatial Data Committee standards and 
the Ocean and Coastal Mapping Integration Act of 2009? Does the 
proposal comply with Executive Order 12906, Coordinating Geographic 
Data Acquisition and Access: The National Spatial Data Infrastructure?
    (3) Overall qualifications of the funding applicants (15 percent): 
This criterion ascertains whether the funding applicant and identified 
collaborators possess the necessary education, experience, training, 
facilities, and administrative resources to accomplish the project. 
Questions relevant to this criterion include:
    (a) Are the investigators qualified and is the organizational 
framework appropriate to conduct a project of the nature and scope 
proposed?
    (b) Are investigators from other agencies and institutions within 
the region included as key personnel on the project to capitalize on 
available expertise and promote a regional approach?
    (c) Does the proposal adequately address the capacity of the 
applicant and partners to implement proposed work?
    (d) Does the proposal adequately define how participation and 
accountability among principle investigators and partners will be 
sustained to the continued progress and success?
    (4) Project costs and metrics (10 percent). This criterion 
evaluates the budget to determine if it is realistic and commensurate 
with the project needs and time-frame. Questions relevant to this 
criterion include:
    (a) Does the proposal demonstrate that the budget is commensurate 
with project needs?
    (b) Is the cost effectiveness of the proposal optimized through 
strategic partnerships with collaborating institutions, agencies, or 
private sector partners?
    (c) Are the budget and budget justification adequately detailed to 
determine how requested funds will be used (i.e. salary, equipment, 
supplies, travel, etc.)?
    (5) Outreach and education (0 percent). NOAA assesses whether this 
project provides a focused and effective education and outreach 
strategy regarding NOAA's mission to protect the Nation's natural 
resources. This

[[Page 55551]]

competition does not include this criterion.

B. Review and Selection Process

    An initial administrative screening is conducted to determine 
compliance with requirements/completeness. All proposals will be 
evaluated and individually ranked in accordance with the assigned 
weights of the above evaluation criteria by at least three independent 
peer reviewers through a full merit review process (i.e., a mail and 
panel review process). A mix of Federal and non-Federal reviewers will 
be used. No consensus advice will be given by the independent peer 
reviewers through mail reviews or on the review panels. The merit 
reviewer's ratings are used to produce a rank order of the proposals. 
The Selecting Official shall award according to rank order unless there 
is a specific justification for selecting out of rank order based upon 
factors listed in Section V.C. The Selecting Official or designee may 
also negotiate the funding level of the proposals to be recommended for 
funding. The Selecting Official will make the final recommendation for 
award to the Grants Officer, who is authorized to obligate the funds 
and execute the award. Proposals that are not funded in the current 
fiscal period may be considered for funding in another fiscal period 
without having to repeat the competitive review process.

C. Selection Factors

    The merit review ratings shall provide a rank order to the 
Selecting Official for final funding recommendations. A program officer 
may first make recommendations to the Selecting Official applying the 
selection factors below. The Selecting Official shall award in the rank 
order unless the proposal is justified to be selected out of rank order 
based upon one or more of the following factors:
    1. Availability of funding.
    2. Balance/distribution of funds:
    a. Geographically.
    b. By type of institutions.
    c. By type of partners.
    d. By research areas.
    e. By project types.
    3. Whether this project duplicates other projects funded or 
considered for funding by NOAA or other Federal agencies.
    4. Program priorities and policy factors.
    5. Applicant's prior award performance.
    6. Partnerships and/or Participation of targeted groups.
    7. Adequacy of information necessary for NOAA staff to make a NEPA 
determination and draft necessary documentation before recommendations 
for funding are made to the Grants Officer.
    The Selecting Official or designee may negotiate the funding level 
of the proposal.

D. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

    The start date on proposals should be the first day of July, August 
or September, but no later than October 1, of 2011.

VI. Award Administration Information

A. Award Notices

    Applications recommended for funding by the selecting official will 
be forwarded to the NOAA Grants Management Division by the Program 
Office. The applicant will be notified by the program office by e-mail 
that their application was recommended for funding. The applicant must 
be aware that the notification by the program office is NOT the 
official award notice. Official notification happens only when the 
applicant receives an award notice from the Grants Officer either by 
postal mail or electronically.
    Unsuccessful applications for all Coastal Services Center programs 
will be destroyed after any FY 2012 funding actions are considered. 
Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by e-mail that their 
application was not recommended for funding no later than the proposed 
state date of the proposal.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for Grants 
and Cooperative Agreements
    Administrative and national policy requirements for all Department 
of Commerce awards are contained in the Department of Commerce Pre-
Award Notification Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements 
contained in the Federal Register notice of February 11, 2008 (73 FR 
7696). This notice may be obtained under http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a080211c.html.
Limitation of Liability
    In no event will NOAA or the Department of Commerce be responsible 
for any proposal preparation costs. In addition, NOAA and DOC will not 
be responsible for project costs if this program fails to receive 
funding. Publication of this announcement does not oblige NOAA to award 
any specific project or to obligate any available funds.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Requirements
    See the NEPA information in Section IV., B., of this announcement.

C. Reporting

    Grant recipients will be required to submit financial and 
performance (technical) progress reports electronically through the 
NOAA Grants On-Line System. Instructions for submitting financial and 
progress reports will be provided by the NOAA Grants Management 
Division.

VII. Other Information

    After electronic submission of the application through Grants.gov, 
the person submitting the application will receive within the next 24 
to 48 hours two e-mail messages from Grants.gov updating them on the 
progress of their application. The first e-mail will confirm receipt of 
the application by the Grants.gov system, and the second will indicate 
that the application has either been successfully validated by the 
system before transmission to the grantor agency or has been rejected 
because of errors. After the application has been validated, this same 
person will receive another e-mail when the application has been 
downloaded by the Federal agency.
    Official notification of an award notice is provided by the Grants 
Management Division, not the program office. If one incurs any costs 
before receiving an award agreement from an authorized NOAA grant 
official, one would do so solely at one's own risk of these costs not 
being included under the award.
    The Coastal Services Center will not release the names of 
applicants submitting proposals unless ordered by a court or requested 
to do so by an appropriate NOAA official and administrative protocol. 
Applicants can use a NOAA public search feature to find out information 
about NOAA awards https://grantsonline.rdc.noaa.gov/flows/publicSearch/begin.do or go through the Freedom of Information Act process to 
request more information about grant competitions. More information 
about the NOAA FOI process is online at http://www.rdc.noaa.gov/foia/.
    Successful applicants will be requested to ensure that all interim 
progress reports indicate whether financial reports have been submitted 
to NOAA's Grants Management Division and are up-to-date. Applicants in 
their final progress report will be asked to (a) Clearly state the 
resulting impact of their project and products in the coastal

[[Page 55552]]

management community; and (b) certify that ``Final financial reports 
have been submitted to NOAA's Grants Management Division and a final 
funding draw-down has been made through the Automated Standard 
Application for Payments (ASAP).''
    If equipment is purchased with grant funds, applicants may be asked 
to submit an equipment inventory in accordance with 15 CFR 14.34(f)(3), 
15 CFR 24.32(b) or 15 CFR 24.32(d)(2) as an appendix to progress 
reports. Further, the program office recommends that recipients request 
disposition instructions for equipment approximately 150 days before 
the project period ends to allow sufficient time to have equipment 
disposition requests addressed before a project period ends. Equipment 
disposition instructions typically require that recipients complete an 
``other'' award action request in Grants Online. NOAA will provide 
instructions for disposition in accordance with 15 CFR 14.34(g)-(h) and 
15 CFR 24.32(g)(2).
    Please be advised that potential funding applicants must register 
with Grants.gov before any application materials can be submitted. An 
organization's one time registration process may take up to three weeks 
to complete so please allow sufficient time to ensure applications are 
submitted before the closing date. To use Grants.gov, applicants must 
have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number 
and be registered in the Central Contractor Registry (CCR). Allow a 
minimum of five days to complete the CCR registration. (Note: Your 
organization's Employer Identification Number (EIN) will be needed on 
the application form.)
    The Grants.gov site contains directions for submitting an 
application, the application package (forms), and is also where the 
completed application is submitted. Applicants using Grants.gov must 
locate the downloadable application package for this solicitation by 
the Funding Opportunity Number or the CFDA number (11.473). Applicants 
will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it 
off line, and then upload and submit the application via the Grants.gov 
site.
    After electronic submission of the application, the person 
submitting the application will receive within the next 24 to 48 hours 
two e-mail messages from Grants.gov updating them on the progress of 
their application. The first e-mail will confirm receipt of the 
application by the Grants.gov system, and the second will indicate that 
the application has either been successfully validated by the system 
before transmission to the grantor agency or has been rejected because 
of errors. After the application has been validated, this same person 
will receive another e-mail when the application has been downloaded by 
the Federal agency.

Christopher C. Cartwright,
Associate Assistant Administrator for Management and CFO/CAO, Ocean 
Services and Coastal Zone Management.
[FR Doc. 2010-22645 Filed 9-10-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-JE-P